New to WordPress.com and pondering the perfect site name? Or, been around for a while but sense the need to change? Let’s brainstorm together.
Q&As with bloggers on choosing their site names:
Your site title is one of the first things that readers notice about your site. This title tells visitors what your site is about, but also reveals a bit about you and your personality. If you’re new to WordPress.com, you might still be pondering the perfect site name. But even people who’ve had their sites for several years may consider a name change for different reasons (a shift in the topics written about, a sharper or narrower focus, or something else).
Interested in your own domain name? Whether your site is personal, professional, or somewhere in between, you can find a WordPress.com plan that’s right for you — and all our paid plans come with a free domain.
I offered tips on selecting a site name some years back, but I think many of them still apply. Here are things to think about when choosing yours:
Keep it simple.
Your site title should be straightforward and quickly tell readers what your site is about. Sure, you’ve got a tagline and an About page to describe your site and story in more detail. But your name? Get to the point. Consider Jessica Lee’s Road Essays: two simple words to describe her site of longform travel nonfiction. Or artist Russell Jackson’s Draw the Public, which succinctly describes his passion for drawing the people around him.
A popular blog in linguistics circles, Strong Language is another example that comes to mind: it’s a no-bells-and-whistles name, leaving its tagline — “a sweary blog about swearing” — to reveal its focus.
Be specific — but not wordy.
Related Reading: What’s your UVP, or unique value proposition?
Among the millions of food or travel or parenting or photography sites out there, you want to stand out. What do you have to offer that no one else can? Think of a name that reveals your unique angle or perspective that goes beyond general (Our Family Vacations, Food Recipes for You), but doesn’t become a mouthful (Our Family Vacations and Food Recipes on a Budget).
Be succinct but focused — what about Frugal Family as an alternative for the example above, which is short yet implies various subjects? (It’s also an example of alliteration, which we’ll talk about below.)
Pair words to create playful phrases.
Those of you who are writers work with words, arrange sentences, and move things around. So, experiment and place two words side by side. Create a long list of options. Consider Word Jazz, which combines two one-syllable words to describe Matt Davis’ blog on language and linguistic creativity. Or Wit and Vinegar, which pairs two unlikely nouns and catches you off-guard. I also love the name of artist Chris Sav’s blog, Banal Muffins, where he focuses on drawing, food, and existential crises in his own unique way.
Use common phrases, but with a twist.
Some of my favorite site names mix the familiar with the unexpected. Stacy Harrison’s Revisions of Grandeur plays with the phrase “delusions of grandeur.” (A thumbs up for her tagline as well: “Life’s a draft,” which is not only a beautifully simple phrase about both writing and life, but also riffs on “life’s a bitch.”)
At Let’s Queer Things Up!, Sam Dylan Finch covers pop culture and politics from a queer, feminist perspective, and alludes to the familiar phrase “let’s clear things up” in his name. Other examples are You and Mie, which swaps the blogger’s middle name, Mie, in place of “me”; as well as Nice and Knit, a sewing and crafts blog that borrows from the phrase “nice and neat.”
Find material in quotes.
I love quotes, from passages I’ve highlighted in books to my favorite sayings from Lao Tzu, Gertrude Stein, and Andre Breton that are tattooed in my mind. Consider a quote you return to again and again — a phrase, or a big idea that moves you or reflects who you are. Can you allude to it in some way?
Technology writer Michael Sacasas at The Frailest Thing found inspiration from one of mathematician and philosopher’s Blaise Pascal’s Pensées: “Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world.”
Likewise, the staff at the literary magazine Cease, Cows takes its cue from one of their favorite novels, Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. At one point in the book, the main character tells his livestock: “Cease, cows, life is short.” This seeps into their tagline: “Life is short, and so is our fiction.”
Listen to words.
Experimenting with titles by writing them down is not enough — you need to say them out loud. Your site title should not only look good, but sound good. Consider alliteration, or repeating the sound of the first consonant in a series of words, as Sarah Lim does with her food and fashion blog, Denim and Dumplings. Or fall back on the pleasing sound of a rhyme, as Rosie does on her food and recipe site, Wish to Dish.